Sunday, May 06, 2012

Under the Sea, Under the Sea

Saturday morning early, turned up at Salt Creek County Park for a tidepooling class out on Tongue Point with the volunteer docents of the Feiro Marine Life Center. The moon is in charge of the timetable when your activities are tidal, being late isn't much of an option. So there we were at 8AM sharp, a crowd of people bounding cautiously around on the bottom of the sea, which just at that moment happened not to have water covering it.

Jumping Ahead of the Story: There Were Urchins!! (Click for larger image.)
Look Out, Critters, Here Come the People (Click for larger image.)

Went way further out towards the far edge of Tongue Point than I usually have confidence to go—everybody was slipping and getting up, scraping themselves on barnacle-covered rocks and face-planting onto kelp beds, so I figured, why be timid; there were so many people, if I were injured they could probably get me rescued, or call for help or something.

To The Edge (Click for larger image.)

Was rewarded by pools full of purple sea urchins. Sea cucumbers. Chitons. And lots of kinds of sea stars, and fishies, and crabs. Pull up a rock and there's all kinds of clingy and swimmy and squirmy things. It turns out it's ok to turn over rocks and pick up critters, at least provided you are an instructor and put everybody back where you found them.

Tubeworms (Click for larger image.)
Painted Star (Click for larger image.)
Blood Star (Click for larger image.)
Chitons, Limpet, Barnacles (Click for larger image.)

Best to walk on the rocks when you can, instead of the kelp. Though that means you are walking on critters.

Way Too Slippery (Click for larger image.)
Rock. The bright red stuff is probably Red Encrusting Sponge (Click for larger image.)

For the people who used to watch the kelp-forest cams on OrcaLive, a whole lot of Spikey Guys, and a Waverly. I don't know how to get good pix when I'm above water and they are under it...

Urchins (Click for larger image.)
Sea urchins and Sea Cucumber (that's the orange waving thing...) (Click for larger image.)
Blurry close-up of Waverly the Sea Cucumber (Click for larger image.)
Crabs (Click for larger image.)

What it looks like when it's actually under the sea, some views from last winter:

Tongue Point, invisible, December 23, 2011 (Click for larger image.)
The little island an island, December 25, 2011 (Click for larger image.)

For your soundtrack, Sylvester the Crab is singing (thank you lyricist Alan Menken):

Under the sea, under the sea
Darling it's better down where it's wetter
Take it from me
Up on the shore they work all day
Out in the sun they slave away
While we're devoting full time to floating
Under the sea...

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